WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY? by Amy Scheibe


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A salacious tale of life as an “Alpha Mom” in New York City.

Once a rising star at Christie’s auction house, Jennifer Bradley left the career track for the mommy track, only to lose herself in the process. Jennifer’s husband, Thom, is busy advancing his career importing antiques, while she deals with neurotic stay-at-home moms who make careers of raising perfect children. Jennifer launches into foul-mouthed tirades against all the trappings of materialism involved in rearing her two children, Georgia and Max. But her character doth protest too much. Jennifer is not strong enough to stand her ground in the face of social pressure. She succumbs to keeping up with Georgia’s hyper-competitive and hyper-commercial peer group at the exclusive Park School. Jennifer questions everything about herself: her clothes, her hair, her weight, even her name. Schiebe gives the reader little reason to sympathize with Jennifer’s insecurities. But after so much bemoaning of Jennifer’s plight, the story picks up steam. Scheibe introduces subplots involving international intrigue and infidelity. Thom heads off to Singapore for three months on a dodgy business assignment. This break in the relationship is meant to give Jennifer time to evaluate “what’s next.” Jennifer takes a few stabs at jump-starting her career, but spends the bulk of this time questioning the strength of her marriage. Scheibe gets the places and faces right in her first stab at fiction, drawing witty portraits of ancillary mommies (especially Angela, the newly laid-off African-American executive who is overwhelmed by the thought of poop explosions and other messy aspects of motherhood). If only the author could make the main character equally appealing; Jennifer is driven by guilt and manipulation and is entirely too passive.

A successful depiction of New York City’s dysfunctional parenting elite, yet without a compelling heroine.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-34303-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2005